Friday 9 December 2016

Dublin team-mate reveals why Danny Sutcliffe has quit hurling panel

Michael Verney

Published 10/12/2015 | 07:12

Danny Sutcliffe in action for the Dubs in Croke Park
Danny Sutcliffe in action for the Dubs in Croke Park

Danny Sutcliffe's high-profile departure from the Dublin senior hurling squad was the talk of the hurling this week and his former county team-mate Cian O'Callaghan has revealed the reasons for his exit.

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The loss of the talented St Jude's attacker is a major setback for Ger Cunningham's 2016 ambitions as the Dubs look to bounce back from a disappointing campaign this year.

But speaking at the draw for next year's Independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup in Croke Park yesterday, UCD student O'Callaghan outlined the rationale for Sutcliffe's decision and his own personal hopes in his absence.

"As far as I'm aware he wants to concentrate on his Masters," O'Callaghan said. "And Danny's been in there for a few years now committing completely to hurling so obviously if he wants to take the year out then that's up to him.

"It's up to the younger lads and the lads that have been called in to stand up more now, there's more leadership required now than before. So it's an opportunity for those lads to come in and stake a claim."

The young Cuala defender is already raring for action next season despite a recent Leinster club final defeat and he doesn't buy the notion that players should burn out, providing they are enjoying their dedication to the ancient game.

"You're always thinking that it's a lot of commitment but as long as you're enjoying your hurling then you don't really worry about the burnout or how the body is," he said.

"At the end of the day it's more mental than physical. As long as you're mentally fresh that's the main thing, and if you're enjoying it you will be."

The Independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup offers great exposure for aspiring hurlers and O'Callaghan loves the extra games, even if it does require some juggling and a tug of war among managers.

"The Fitz is a great competition and it's great to be playing such competitive matches so early in the year. Otherwise you'd just be training away with the county," he said.

"You want to be out playing games the whole time and as long as the managers are working together then there's no problem and Nicky English and Ger Cunningham seem to be doing that pretty well."

O'Callaghan will be an integral part of Tipperary legend English's plans for the coming months as 32-time champions UCD chase their first Fitzgibbon Cup since 2001.

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